This spring, Fletcher Foundation completed the UNC School of the Arts A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute endowment with a $1.25 million grant, enabling the school to offer more scholarships and fellowships to highly qualified student artists. Effective August 11, the Fletcher Opera Institute will have a new artistic director, Nicholas Muni, an award-winning stage director with global experience. The most recent grant will give him the resources to expand programming, bring in top guest artists, and make the Institute a leading innovator in professional opera.
A.J. Fletcher was an exceptional advocate for the arts, and his particularly strong love of opera led him to create the Grassroots Opera Company in 1948. For decades thereafter, Fletcher Foundation supported various opera productions and educational outreach through the National Opera Company, believing opera and other fine arts should be available to all, not just the elite few.
To carry on A.J. Fletcher’s legacy and his love for opera, Fletcher Foundation established a partnership with UNC School of the Arts, committing $10 million to establish an Opera Institute at the school. In September 2001, Fletcher Foundation merged its National Opera Company with the UNC School of the Arts School of Music’s graduate opera program, in collaboration with the UNC School of the Arts School of Design and Production, to create the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute. A vehicle for advancing the career potential of exceptional young singers, the Fletcher Opera Institute offers performance-based training at the graduate and post-graduate levels to several Institute Fellows each year.
Today, Fletcher Opera Institute students perform with excellence and alumni of the program are highly distinguished in the world of opera. In the last 15 years, the school has established a reputation as one of the finest university opera programs in the world.